Beets per Minute

photo-1507484467459-0c01be16726eWhen was the last time you ate beets? I don’t imagine it’s at the top of most people’s culinary favorites. I used to hate beets because my only experience with them was out of a can. Those are truly awful. My mother would have them as a side dish for dinner occasionally and they tasted like whatever I thought pennies would taste like, purely awful.

From childhood until a few years ago, all that time…no beets.

Until  a friend of ours became ill…

He decided that having a  healthy diet  would keep the cancer from developing further. One time in his home he prepared a beet salad made from fresh beets. My palate made a new memory and beets for the first time had a good place in my mind.

Recently, my husband purchased beets in a plastic container from the produce department. They were round, soaking in vinegar. Then I viewed an ad for Green Giant Frozen Beets on social media. It seemed beets were emerging. The image in the ad was of spiral cut beets. It was intriguing. Going to the store was on my list so I purchased this vegetable, frozen. Not long ago, we ate them as a side dish.

I cooked the beets as directed on the package while sautéed purple onion simmered in a pan. After the beets were cooked, I drained the liquid from them, and added them to the pan of onions. In a couple of minutes it was ready to serve. I didn’t add another thing to this mixture. It was a vivid maroon serving of 2 nutrient packed vegetables. A natural sweetness seemed to make it all palatable.

And in case you’re concerned about that natural sweetness, the natural fiber is the barrier to slow down the travel of the sugar into your bloodstream. This is how God created our bodies and all the processes HE created are for our good.

photo-1467019972079-a273e1bc9173After looking online, there are a number of food items that can be added to beets. This list gives you a few ideas:

  • For a cold salad, a bag of spinach could be added with feta cheese and walnuts.
  • Orange slices would add be a succulent addiction. delicious and incredibly healthy.
  • Whip up a honey dressing stirring in balsamic vinegar and garlic to go on top.
  • Roasted carrots or diced sweet potato would be a colorful combination for a hot dish.

I was pleasantly surprised by this simple dish. Beets are very good for your body by being a good source of vitamin C, magnesium and can aid in cardiovascular health.

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~Margaret Thatcher

Sometimes the weekends present challenges to a healthy lifestyle and the discipline we had all week crumbles.  Maybe this blog on beets can get you refocused this weekend. As a final note,  I would recommend fresh or frozen for beets, and any other vegetable.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

I Corinthians 3:16

 

Art and Youth

photo-1481624362406-b7817fa45ecfIs there anyone in the Christian world who hasn’t heard of the Gideons? Their real name is The Gideons International. Most hotels today still carry a Bible provided by this Christian organization in a drawer near the bed. But they state in their mission statement that they are more than just what we see in a hotel room.

The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. While we are often recognized for our work with hotels, we also place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.

Recently my husband and I saw a different side to The Gideons International… their  youth. The youth coordinator had contacted Buried Treasures Home via the facebook page a couple months ago wanting to know if there was anything they could do for us at Buried Treasures Home. They would be in the area attending the State Gideon Convention and these young people were available to do a service project while their parents attended meetings. After some dialogue, it was decided that they would come out and paint canvases that could be used in a new building.

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They showed up today with 2 adults and a few youth and children. Coming with sweet spirits, they worked with diligence and focus.  Each of their canvases are lovely and each one took pride in what they painted for us.

Afterwards we took them on a walking tour of Buried Treasures Home.

This wasn’t a typical Saturday morning at Buried Treasures Home. For one thing, the ladies were off campus themselves serving others at the Hope Conference which is according to their website, “an educational event for cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers.”  You can learn more here.

Typically on a Saturday morning Clark teaches Introduction to Christianity and we have our weekly calendar meeting and evaluations. While our ladies were serving the Lord, this strong group of youth was serving the Lord at Buried Treasures Home.

Their visit only solidifies all the more the good reputation that Gideons already had in our minds.

You can learn more about The Gideons International here.

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5 Ways to New Beginnings

2a44183f-6035-47e9-8397-80952ca92f45It’s the last day of February. Did you make any resolutions at the beginning of this year? We all long for a new start, a new beginning and we believe we will behave differently this year and achieve it. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.

At some point, I began to question the idea of making resolutions. The idea seemed empty to me. My trouble was defaulting to procrastination, or losing focus. That was when goals began to mean more to me. Goals seemed to have a permanency to them, an unwavering commitment to being achieved. But even those can get self focused and you can climb the ladder a long time and find out it was leaning against the wrong wall.

If you are beginning to believe that your resolutions only leave you feeling hopeless, then take a look at the list below. They support the idea of doing life daily. The best way to begin is with the Lord as your Leader.

Self discipline and determination are the keys to any success, but those traits come from the Lord and anything started with Him is going to end in success!

  • Be focused – For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:7
  • Be a disciple – Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
  • Be humble –  “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3
  • Be a servant- “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
  • Be Committed – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

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    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. Lamentation 3:22-23

Love Is NOT Blind

freestocks-org-552875-unsplashAnd I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Ezekiel 11:19-21

As Valentines Day approaches, may I recommend that we keep our focus on Jesus! The world groans. It is predictable. We are in a relationship with the only One who gives hope and provides us a home in Him. Remember, this world is not our home if we know Jesus. This is a time for believers to tighten our grip and be all the more devoted to the One who saved our soul.

The Old Testament passage above tells of God being the only one capable of heart transformation. His capability of giving a people a heart of devotion toward Him is spectacular and miraculous. But another side of God appears in the same passage as one who opposes those who are not serving Him and He repays them for their sins.

So what about now? We learn early in church that God is Love. I didn’t go to seminary and don’t have any impressive jargon to explain God’s love. But this is one thing I’ve learned. God is love, but…

His love is NOT blind – Lost people act like lost people and He sees. Lost people wander in darkness and produce much wickedness and evil. It is up to us, His children, to pray for hearts to be transformed. We are also commanded to witness with our lives and our lips on a regular basis.

His love is NOT blind – Even believers can produce surprising amounts of wickedness and evil which He sees. Although we are His children, we still give in to our sin nature for a moment or even a season. When we do, His discipline, designed to chase us back will come. (Proverbs 3:12). As for consequences, those soon become self-evident. Grace is wonderful, but we still break God’s heart when we sin. However, His love is not blind to our confessions and desire to turn back to Him and follow His ways. (1 John 1:9)

His love is NOT blind – He sees the good things His children do and rewards them. (Galatians 6:9) This is particularly encouraging if you’re in a thankless and under appreciated environment. Being the personal God that He is, it is thrilling when He approves of who we are in some particular way or in something we are doing at any moment in time.

Be warned however that God will never give approval to anything He has stated in the Bible as sin.

His love is NOT blind – For His children, we are given grace and mercy in all of life’s seasons whether we are devoted or not. He is not blind. It can’t be overstated how kind God is to His own. And yet, He uses that kindness often to lead us to repentance.(Romans 2:4).

For the unbeliever, they have the wrath of God on them. ( Romans 1:8, Hebrews 10:31)

As believers, we are to walk humbly before our God. God is all-knowing. We can rest in His love and know His love is not blind which is good news for His devoted ones looking at the evil of this world. God sees all and He has a justice system that is not based on human emotion or shifting shadows. He will punish the wicked.rocky shore

 

Here are a few action tips for believers living in this dark world:

  • We can sharpen our spiritual disciplines in prayer, Bible reading, witnessing, sharing with those in need, fasting, memorizing and meditating on scripture, taking care of our bodies, praising Him, holding our tongues, committing to kingdom work through the local church.
  • We can remember that God is light and in Him there is no darkness, at all. Make times to focus on Jesus.
  • We can take a break from the news.
  • We can examine our own lives and ask God to show us any ways that don’t please Him.
  • We can humble ourselves and ask God to fill our hearts with His love for this world.
  • We can pray that the hearts of people won’t be hardened especially those who are in places of authority.
  • We can remember God loves the righteous and the unrighteous. We used to be enemies of God.
  • We can strive to live in such a way that the Lord takes pleasure in us and provides His protection to us.

With all that is going on so rapidly in our world and in our country, it is comforting to know that God’s love is not blind. It is also important for His children to look for where God is working. Ask His Holy Spirit to show you and thank Him for these good things. We must pray for those in authority over us and live our lives in a way that pleases Him. We are God’s way of reaching the world. When He looks at His kids, we want Him to see us actively involved in His work. After all, His love is NOT blind.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48

 

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The Power of the Call

Have you ever been puzzled by what a call on someone’s life is? If you’ve been a church goer for any amount of time, you may have heard someone say that God called them to do this or that work.  I had heard this all my life in church, but had little understanding of the meaning.

When I was in a Christian setting years ago, I asked others one day, “ What does it mean when someone has a call on their life?” That was met with silence and I knew then that I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know. However, I may have been the only one in the room at that time that wanted to know. It wasn’t long after that I received my call to missions.

Prior to this, a series of personal and deeply spiritual events had occurred in mine and my husbands lives. A Christian marriage retreat, and my husband getting laid off were 2 of the events. God used those things to lead my husband and I to question what God was doing in our lives.

It was at a marriage retreat that Henry Blackaby challenged 500 couples with this question…”Is God calling you to more than just serving in your local church as a lay person? If He is, stand up.” We’d already been having some interesting thoughts about our lives and when that question came, we could have been the only ones in the room. We both stood up and that began what we would understand to be a call to full-time Christian service. We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t understand it all at the time.

We were compelled.

We knew God was “calling” us.

The following weeks and months were profound in our lives as we experienced God in our life circumstances, in His Word, and other people. God was active and He had our attention.

Then there were 2 mission trips to Ukraine. Those trips were so spiritually impacting that English words seem empty to tell of how each trip delivered potent effects in our lives. The cost of following Jesus was being counted and we were attentive to His plans.

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It would be after the last trip to Ukraine that the “call” to mission came for me. This is what happened.

I was standing at my kitchen sink. That kitchen sink was home to many thoughts in those days. And that night was no different as I questioned God about calling us. Why not others? And then I got specific and named a few names of the “others”. My train of thought was that Clark and I already did so much for Jesus. We were already heavily involved in church and our lives were turned toward our neighbors and others who needed to know Him. It seemed logical to me that calling us was unnecessary since we did everything already.  It also seemed that God needed to call people who didn’t do as much and then perhaps that would get them more involved in His Kingdom work.

I felt this a good argument.

As I’m pouring out my questions to God, my turbulent spirit was interrupted when a physical pressure came onto my shoulders. Yes, I mean like a person putting their hands on my shoulders.

Then tear drops begin hitting the bubbles in the sink as tears rolled down my cheeks.

The arguing ceased and gently in my head I heard, “But would you be willing?”

That inaudible, penetrating question along with the pressure on my shoulders led me to whisper, “Yes Lord, I would be willing.”

Immediately, the pressure lifted. Peace restored.

From that point on, I’ve never doubted, wondered or questioned again God’s call on my life. I could go on and on about how this call has put glue to my feet when I wanted to leave and swiftness in my step when it was time to. I could tell you how it has calmed me when the days were desperate and how its certainty has given me peace. I could tell you how this call has become who I am and how defining it is to my life.

Is God calling you to a task or to a lifetime of mission service to Him? If you are wondering, it very well could be that He is. How will you respond?

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 1:11-12

No Excuses Chicken

Healthy eating is a lifestyle for me. Some of you may be starting this lifestyle because of the new year. If you’re looking for an easy recipe that is healthy and satisfying, this one may be for you. I call this No Excuses Chicken because everything needed is purchased at the store and there’s no chopping and no excuses for not having something healthy to eat.

For a long time I’ve enjoyed whole wheat pasta, and chicken is one of my top protein choices most anytime! I eat vegetables often, even breakfast. This recipe passes my checklist for a healthy meal. The pictures are my actual packages and since you literally need only 4 to 5 items to make this meal, it certainly goes in the easy category.

Ingredients:

Diced Chicken

Vegetables

Whole Wheat pasta

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Put a couple of cups of water on to boil in a pot. Add a bit of salt. Put half the bag of pasta in the water and wait for it to boil. Boil for only a few minutes. Don’t over cook. Drain pasta.

Add  a Tablespoon of olive oil to a pan.

When heated, add the diced chicken and brown. Add the veggies toward the very end so as not to over cook them.

Get a single serving bowl. Add pasta. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on it. Stir and add the chicken and vegetables on top. Enjoy.

Of course, if you’re cooking for your family, you likely would use half the bag of chicken, the entire package of pasta and vegetables.

This simple, but healthy meal has lots of nutrition, and the ingredients are easy to find. You could add beans to this, or even a white cheese like mozzarella. As is, this is low in fat, high in fiber, nutrient and protein packed meal that is long on flavor and short on time. Enjoy!

Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17

Perspective in the New Year

One day rolls into the next and much of life can be lived in crisis mode. But we must be sure that we aren’t reacting to some really small things in a big way. We have to conserve energy for the big things. We can’t give so much energy to the stopped up drains or traffic jams and have none left for the terminal diagnosis or layoff.

God is the giver of all things including perspective. This is why staying true to Him is so very important to our spiritual lives. Staying true to Him gives our lives meaning and much needed perspective. Here are some reasons to stay true in your relationship to God as this new year is here, fresh and new.

  • God sent His One and Only Son from glorious heaven to depraved earth to be with us and live with us. That alone makes Him worthy of our devotion.
  • If you’ve accepted Jesus into your life as your Savior, then every day is a good day to make Him Lord or to keep Him Lord. He is over all and in all…
  • Jesus is after your character development and although He may seem cruel at times, all He does and all He requires is loving on His part. We must settle this because life really is hard and as He uses people around you to build your character, you must know that it is HE who is loving in all HIs ways.
  • Jesus will not share glory. He will orchestrate circumstances that give you a choice to take glory for your own or give it to Him. He is not an ego God, but He is God and all glory and praise are due to Him. He gave all He had so that we could have a life worth living here on earth and eternity with Him. He is worthy of all our praise.
  • At the point of your choice to receive Jesus into your heart, you became a child of God. That infers that God is your Father. That means there is an ongoing relathipship. Relationships require work and lots of it. This journey with Jesus is not for the faint of heart.

SO as you keep on running the race of this Christian life, keep your faith strong and stay true to the One who has already gone before you into 2019 and knows what will happen in your life this year. You will need Him and so now is a good time to commit your life to Him all over again. Stay true. He is worth it and He is worthy.